I wish I could remember the precise moment the world began to replace the innocent joy of my body
with feelings of embarrassment and inadequacy.
I must have been in middle school when I began to feel self-conscious about my hands even though they
served a profound functional purpose in my everyday life. I longed for my palms to be softer and my
fingers to be less wrinkly. I was self-conscious of a handshake and fearful of what a boy might think of
me if he were to hold my rough hands.
I suppose vanity and covetousness were part of the problem. However, at the root of my
discontentment and fear was that I did not yet know the One who lovingly gifted me these hands.
In 2009 my husband and I conceived our first son. My pregnancy humbled my body physically as I
suffered chronic kidney stones and ultimately went into preterm labor at 35 weeks. Our baby boy
soared into the world with strength and confidence however, as a preemie, his needs were more
complicated than I had expected, as was my post-partum recovery. I floundered through early
motherhood as I failed to measure up to my unrealistic expectations.
I know now that God was allowing me to struggle in my pride and as he dispelled the lie that self-
reliance and independency were a viable way to live an abundant life. When our son was about seven
months old a student of mine invited me to her church for a teacher supply drive. That divine
appointment would ultimately put a Bible into my hands and ignite a curiosity in me to attend church.
God began to dispel decades of unbelief. In November of 2010 at the age of 29, I surrendered my life to
Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and made the choice to follow Him wherever He called. The Father, in
His grace, adopted me as His beloved daughter (Ephesians 1:4-6).
Everything changed . . . including what I thought about my hands.
Today when I look at my weathered hands etched with calloused palms and carved with deep lines upon
my knuckles, I am reminded of my true lineage. I fondly think of the Potter who painstakingly formed
me in my mother’s womb (Isaiah 64:8). He had a great purpose for these hands.
They have held firmly the hands of a faithful husband for sixteen years, most recently at his ICU bedside
post stroke. When his hands could not function, God gave me able hands to assist him. These hands
have had the honor of caressing and nurturing two newborn babies. They have cupped the chin of a
three-year-old orphan in Hong Kong who found comfort in the kindness of my nonverbal gesture. My
hands touching her face would be our first physical connection as mother and daughter.
God has allowed my hands to pat three children’s backs to slumber. They have wiped runny noses,
changed messy diapers, written prayers, scripted lunchbox notes, plucked guitar strings, driven
countless hours, tied shoes, thrown balls, cleaned dishes, folded clothes, and were even used to type
the very message you are reading. Other times, my hands have simply rested in a posture of surrender
and gratitude to the One who made them.
Today will you join me in thanking God for the gift of our unique bodies – purposefully designed and
wonderfully made?! (Psalm 139:14)